tv As It Happened - The 11th Hour With Brian Williams 73117 MSNBC December 25, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
same subjects. so in the meantime, republicans have to get back to work. [ talking over each other ] >> thanks. as thank you. >> catch us here at 8:00 p.m. on msnbc. the breaking news we're covering tonight. another bombshell from the "washington post." their report that the statement that covered up for don jr.'s meeting with the russians, the one that said the meeting was about adoptions. that statement, they say, was drafted by his father, the president. the big story all day that the mooch is no more. the spectacular fall of anthony scare new kyi as communications director. no small part, because he communicated with a reporter using language we can't repeat. a big day on day one for the new chief of staff. the 11th hour gets underway now.
day 193 of the trump administration. anthony scare new kyi is out as white house communications director ten days after he first walked into the briefing room podium announcing his arrival. yet it's not even our lead story here tonight. laushs wanted the the statements to be truth. the post is reporting that trump personally dictated the statement while on air force one as he flew back from the g 20 summit in germany. he had just met with putin for the first time as president. the piece reads in part, the
extent of the president's personal intervention in his son's response the details of which have not previously been reported, adds to a series of actions that trump has taken that some advisors fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy. it goes on to quote the deputy special prosecutor who investigated the george w. bush's leak of cia operative leak. here is the quote, "the thing that really strikes me about this is the stupidity of involving the president. they are still treating this like a family-run business, and they have a pr problem. what they don't seem to understand is, this is a criminal investigation involving all of them." the news broke a little more than three weeks ago. nbc news confirmed there were eight people inside the room where it happened. the meeting at trump tower
including a translator. when it comes to trump dictating the statement and response to that story, trump junior's lawyer told the post he had "no evidence to support that theory." and one of president trump's lawyers told nbc news "it was fake news, incorrect, and misinformed of no confidence." apart from of no confidence. the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate, and not pertinent. it was that very lawyer who defended the president on tv after the story broke. the president didn't sign off on
anything. the statement released on saturday was released by donald trump jr. in consultation with his lawyers. awe breaking an hour and a half after the president wrote on the white house. michael crowley, vivian salama, richard painter. he teaches law at the university of minnesota. welcome to you all, michael you're our reality assessments. how big a bombshell is this? >> well it's big, brian. but it's also part of a pattern. i think what's significant is the way this pattern is coming into clearer focus. look, on the underlying substance of whether there was collusion, whether the russians
directly influenced the trump campaign. i think the jury is out. some democrats are placing hopes in the idea there is a smoking gun. we don't know that yet. where we see mounting and i think quite damning evidence is without knowing what the underlying infraction may have been we are seeing a pattern of ob fuss accusation, deception, changing and conflicting stories on the part of the president and people at the white house, that sure looks like the behavior of people who are trying to hide something. what doesn't add up about the russia story, even though we haven't proven direct kremlin influence and collusion in the campaign -- and again that investigation is ongoing -- what is looking clear now is there have been several significant efforts to shut this thing down to mislead the public. you have to ask yourself, why
would people not guilty of anything be acting as though they have something to hide? and so this is the latest significant break-in that pile that causes you to step back and ask that fundamental question. >> vivian this may call for judgment on your part. i don't know. think about general kelly. we can assume he had a conversation with the president about the conditions he would need met to take this job at a fraught time for a fraught presidency. one of them perhaps, all routes of reporting to the oval office go through me. that's quite common for a chief of staff. do you think he also asked -- is there anything more you guys are expecting? because general kelly hardly made it home for dinner tonight before this dropped. >> general kelly is not someone who messes around. he is no nonsense. if he was taking this job he certainly would have asked at least what he was signing on to. this "washington post" story
that breck today is the manifestation of everything we've seen in the last couple of weeks in terms of just the advice that the president has been getting, the type of advisers he has been surrounding himself with and the misdirection this white house has undertaken since january. and so you have the situation where the president is also a very -- he has his stubborn tendencies where he likes to do things his own way and tends to do them erratically without consulting people. but also just the fact that he has certain people around him that are not sort of pulling him off the ledge and saying you can't do this, this is going to further implicate yous in a problem for you. to do so in a convincing manner. that's really what's been so problematic in this white house. general kelly is somebody who many believe does have influence on the president. he respects the generals believes in them and he really takes advice to heart. to see if he can get the president to tone down some of his involvement in this, that's going be thing interesting thing moving forward. >> richard with the proviso innocent until proven guilty what this is as of now it's a "washington post" story. for in to be a crime for this to
be obstruction, capital o or small o. it seems to me you have to prove authorship of the statement we foe to be wrong. and you'd have to prove intent, that it was meant as a smoke screen to throw people off the trail, correct? >> well, as part of a pattern of obstruction of justice, that's what would have to be proven. and there is a pattern. we go back to the firing of james comey and other reasons of course being offered for the firing of james comey. and then very quickly there after the president said to the russian ambassador right there in the oval office that he fired him in connection with the russia investigation. we have repeated instances of obstruction of justice. i have to say this looks more and more like a cover-up. but it's one of the most psychologically did he ranged and inconsistent cover jupts in
history. how they can't keep the president airway from the russia investigation. i don't know which they can't keep him away from it, stop tweeting and drafting false statements in kweks it and threatening people and threatenings to fire the attorney general last week so you can replace bob mueller. if this story is true, that the president of the united states intentionally drafted a false statement by his son in connection with a criminal investigation, i think that's it. he should do the dignified thing and resign his office if this story is true. and give mike pence a run the country and calm things down for three and a half years process we've had enough. if this is true the president
drafted a lie in connection with a criminal investigation he has got to go. >> and richard, you have every reason to believe that mueller was either aware of this or certainly is on top of this and this will be one of those topics that gets, concentrates his mind. >> oh, i would think so. along with the firing of james comey and along with what happened in that meeting with the trump tower, and everything else that's going on. this has been now about seven months of an investigation of the interference by the russians with the 2016 election.
it's an investigation that donald trump as president could have kept his hands off of. he didn't have to tweet about it, didn't have to talk about it, didn't have to engage in obstruction of notice. he could have allowed this investigation to take its course. and he chose not to. and this is a mistake very similar to the mistake richard nixon made in connection with watergate. but it's -- i have to say a lot more psychologically deranged when you look at the tweets and the statements and the obsession with hilary. you wonder what's going on there. the attempt to deflect the anger that the american people have about this on the losing condition. that's only appealing to a small sliver of the electorate. the president is not living in the read world in connection with what is going on here with the russia investigation, and quite a few other things, as well. >> michael let's talk about the real world. and take us back contemporaneously when the president who has said to have dealt with this on the ground in germany, saying nothing of the flight home from the g20. this was a high wire act. sadly we as taxpayers will not know what was discussed in that putin meeting because there was no note taker.
there was only a russian interpreter when trump and putin had a pull aside meeting where by the way the president told us they talked about adoption. >> yeah. >> so this is -- this is some important business on a plane where, coming home from the first meeting as president with the russian leader, maybe you'd have an after action brief with state department, national security staff. instead it sounds like the office space in the front of that aircraft was occupied by this. >> yeah. and you don't get any sign that he has had a learning curve when it comes to russia. there was a school of thought that said donald trump is naive about vladimir putin. he sees in putin a tough guy, a strong man the hubristic. and trump likes that. maybe he will get into office and learn what putin is about. what the russian policy is about. the cynicism and subterfuge ever russia.
there is no evidence of a learning curve. you put your finger on the key points which is that trump reechted this line about adoption saying putin wanted to talk to him about adoptions. it's such a naive thing to say. to keep repeating the russian just want to talk about adoptions as you've made clear on this show, adoptions is code for the mag knits ski act which is a way of saying u.s. sanctions against human rights abuses in russia. at some point you have to ask yourself the troubling question, does it not get through to him? does he not understand it? or is he just completely -- complicit in something hard to
understand right now. but both options are pretty troubling. i would just say finally, brian, trump talks about all the in enemies out to get him on the russia story, the democrats out to get him, the liberal media, the deep state. . this man is his own worse enemy. his lawyers have to be pulling out their hair. they cannot defend a guy who will keep tweeting about matters that are under investigation that could put him in legal jeopardy. and it seems like every day he brings himself closer and closer to the brink of real deep legal trouble that his lawyers can't save him from. a guy with that much money who occupies the oval office ought to have the best legal defense in the world but he won't let it work for him. >> richard, you tweeted something that got our attention today. danger signs in any presidency. lots of generals and civilian positives, authoritiarian rhetoric, disdain for judges. bigger risk in time of war. on top of that we have the president's lawyers tonight using that insidious label fake news. >> well, this is a very -- very troubling situation. to have the president of the united states repeatedly attacking the media, attacking his political opponent who lost the election calling for prosecution of hillary clinton, and surrounding himself with more generals in the white house. and he goes to the boy scouts
and he is giving in highly charged political speech in front of uniformed teenagers as if he wants to turn that into some sort of trump youth organization. i mean the signs of -- of authoritarianism are staring us in the face. if we don't acknowledge that this is a risky situation, and we continue to put up with this, what we could find is that if we are in a war or if the president wants to get us into a war, in order to solidify his control, that he could very, very quickly try to make himself into an authoritarian president or dictator. and this is not a safe situation for the united states. congress, democrats and
republicans together need to get a handle on how to deal with donald trump. as i say there are psychological issues here. he does not appear to be very well in the way he is responding to the matters. and all the warning signs are there. we saw that throughout the campaign. but it's gotten worse and worse. and now he is being cornered on the russia investigation. and that's where you are most likely to have trouble. meanwhile we've got a nuclear threat in korea. and he is the person who has the power to decide how to respond to that. and i'm -- i'm quite frankly quite scared about in situation right now. >> as we keep saying no ordinary time for very good reason. vivian has agreed to stick around i'm coming to you after the break because we are changing topic to the guest, however and in our initial panel our great thanks. michael crowley, vivian salama, richard painter. terrific conversation. coming up it was 8:28 a.m. when
the president wrote on twitter, no white house chaos. more on the other breaking story today, the short but not unmemorable ten your of anthony scaramucci when "the 11th hour" continues. so how old do you want to be when you retire? uhh, i was thinking around 70. alright, and before that? you mean after that? no, i'm talking before that. do you have things you want to do before you retire? oh yeah sure... ok, like what? but i thought we were supposed to be talking about investing for retirement? we're absolutely doing that. but there's no law you can't make the most of today. what do you want to do? i'd really like to run with the bulls. wow. yea. hope you're fast. i am. get a portfolio that works for you now and as your needs change. investment management services from td ameritrade. i am totally blind. and non-24 can throw my days and nights out of sync, keeping me from the things i love to do. talk to your doctor, and call 844-214-2424.
welcome back to the 11th hour." communications director anthony scaramucci is the latest high profile member of the trump administration to leave unexpectedly. just 25 days into president trump's term, you may recall his national security adviser mike flynn resigned. day 110, trump fired fisher director james comey. day 183, press secretary sean spicer ez resigned. six days later on day 189, chief of staff reince priebus resigned. now day 193 communication attention director anthony scaramucci is out. here is how the white house answered questions today about
the number of high level departures. >> we have seen the chief of staff, the deputy chief of staff, handful of communications directors, a press secretary and national security adviser all leave in the first six months of this administration. can you tell us a little bit about why there's been all this turbulence? i know you don't like to get into the process. but all the things together what's going on? >> look we're continuing to focus on president's agenda. we're going to have staff changes. we let you guys know when they happen. like i said earlier what matters to us are not the jobs that are within this building but the ones outside of this era there.
joining us here in conversation here in the studio jonathan remere white house reporter for the associated press. his piece tonight, kelly shows his clout, scaramucci out as white house chief moves in. his colleague at the associated press vivian salama remains with us from washington. so jonathan, i'm looking at a great piece of wrag, the communication director's tenure was the stuff of shakespearean drama. priebus leaves after the mooch arrived. now kelly arrives and the mooch is gone. 11 days. >> yeah, it's pret were remarkable. . occasionally the white houses brings in poetry. >> too modest. >> but it seems in terms whether this is tragedy or comedy. he burst on the scene 11 days ago with the 37-minute charm offensive that he seemed to be the new power player in the white house. a few days later in an interview with a reporter at the new yorker" he uses vulgar terms to describe the chief of staff,
reince priebus, the chief strategist steve bannon. we know initially the president was okay with this. he didn't mind it the shots across the bow particularly on priebus. buts in a president mindful of the media coverage. we know in the days following he grew less and less happy with the negative tone of the coverage of this. so did important people around him including ivanka, jared kushner, steve bannon. when john kelly named chief of staff right from that moment it was very clear that scaramucci -- was mot going to continue to have this sort of access to the president and then as of today no access to the president at all. and at least not in his white house job. >> so vivian, is it fair to judge the administration of chief of staff kelly by looking
to see what happens or not tomorrow morning between, say, 7 and 10:00 a.m.? if twitter is silent, if america is safe and if it's a quiet morning, quiet tuesday, midsummer morning in america, do you think there will have been change enacted. >> well, john and i and our colleagues pretty much learned we never try to predict anything. too far ahead. it's hard to say what his impact will be in the long-term. about you you in the short-term like i said in the previous segment he general kelly is a no nonsense person. an iraq war veteran. he has seen his share of wars and battles. and he is coming into the situation already prepared. we have done some reporting previously when he was still holding the position as secretary of homeland security where he and general mattis, the defense secretary were really surprised and shocked by the rule out of the executive order was the immigration ban and travel ban. they agreed with weech are each other they wouldn't leave the country at the same time so that one of them would always kind of be around in case there were anymore surprises like that one. so i think that he and general mattis have been operating with that in mind, that this is a
very unpredictable president, and they as military men have to really be ready are for everything. for him coming into the white house i think just based on what he has seen so far, he has been operating on that notion. and he is coming into the situation knowing he has to brace for anything. the question is maybe he may be able to shape up conduct in the west wing, crack down on leaks, crack down on misbehavior he sees and streamline policies. but can he control the president when he has his phone as 6:30 in the morning or on a saturday morning when he is just not there? that remains to be seen. and really we have haven't seen anybody able to do that not his wife, children, nobody. and so that's the test for general kelly moving forward. >> and jonathan, it's one thing for a chief of staff to say all routes of report lead through me there are no direct reports it's another things it to say i'm the president's son-in-law and i'll see him for dinner.
>> kushner and ivanka have access to the president that any chief of staff would not be able to curtail. but that is kelly's one of his first tasks to restrict access to the oval office. the president wanted to recreate sort of what he had in his business. he want add freewheeling style. he likes the chaos. he likes it's not too buttoned down. it was not unheard for processor staffers to walk in start talking him. seeing him the hall which and button hole him, change his mind. he can be persuaded on certain issues. that would lead to much to reince priebus's zma shiftinglesses, shifting communication strategies. it was hard to keep him in line. i think general kelly is going to try to dispense with a lot of that. how successful he will be. can he be keep steve bannon out, jared and ivanka, remains to be
seen. >> two big reasons by the associated press reporting on this white house is so good, fast and solid. thank you for being with us tonight. another break for us. coming up vladimir putin revenge the russian president's move that has people wondering why hasn't donald trump responded. we're back with that after this. the president's made it very my ancestry dna results are that i am 26% nigerian. i am just trying to learn as much as i can about my culture. i put the gele on my head and i looked into the mirror and i was trying not to cry. because it's a hat, but it's like the most important hat i've ever owned. discover the story only your dna can tell. order your kit now at ancestrydna.com. hi, i'm the internet! you knoarmless bowling.lt? you got this, jimmy!
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this hour's stop storyings. a winter storm is whipping through the country this week. up to a foot expected in parts of new england. more than 7,000 flights have been delayed nationwide due to the weather. in rome pope francis called for a two-state solution to the israeli/palestinian conflict at the annual christmas address. the pontiff offered prayers for children affected by conflict around the world. now back to "as it happens." the president's made it very clear that -- that russia's destabilizing activities, support for rogue regimes activities in ukraine are unacceptable. the president made it clear that very soon he will sign the
sanctions. >> that was vice president pence in san antonioia yesterday responding to vladimir puttingen after the russian president hit back at the u.s. ordering american embassy staff in russia be cut by 75 a people. putin isry talting to sanctions approved by the senate last week in a veto proof 98-2 vote. tonight the sanctions bill is at the white house. sitting there awaiting a presidential signature. but the president has yet to sign the bill into law. or for that matter address the matter publicly. with us tonight to talk about this former acting director of cia john mclaughlin is with us also msnbc security analyst. nayyera is with us formally of the state department. . john the president doesn't agree on anything as we got a license in last we can. i can't remember the congress would vote 98-2. this is a voe toe-proof
-- a veto-proof majority. how does this look that this document is sitting at the white house? are there be a signing statement? a public version of our policy toward russia? >> well, brian those questions underline really what's very different about in particular dust up with the russians. i've been through a lot. this one is very strange, very different. among other things we've never had the congress telling the president what to do in this way. apparently a sign that they don't trust him on this issue. maybe another sign that the republican fire wall is beginning to break a little bit. the second thing is we've never been through one of these when we have a weak president who seems paralyzed by the russia issue. third of course is the absence of a policy. as best i can tell we don't really have what i would call a russia policy. in the past when this sort of
thing happened it's been in the context of a clearly understood policy, something can go back to. right now i came away from my last trip to russia asking myself where do we want this to end? i don't think we know. >> nayyera, it is odd to have the vice president actings a the point person in effect on russia. what's your understanding of the countermeasures that putin has ordered? >> well, vice president pence was in estonia as we know that is a former soviet, you know, bloc country under constant threat from russia. you have the administration every time there is an official in europe they speak strongly against russian activity. but we haven't seen that kind of same strong reaction from the president himself. unfortunately, most of our foreign policy seems to be made
on twitter these days. policy against north korea, china, all of these announced on twitter. not to hear the president say anything in support or against russian sanctions directly it's hard for any other surrogate to take place and philamena vacuum. now this isn't in context. this isn't a direct retaliation just for this past week. this is several weeks back. in the late obama administration. the obama had done an executive order to kick out about 35 russian diplomats, which we suspected were spies at the time. as well as shut down several russian facilities. at the time putin said he would not retaliate because he was waiting to see what a new trump administration would do. the fact that now six months into the trump presidency putin decided to retaliate now shows that he too is losing confidence that he has donald trump in his pocket. >> so john do you buy the premises of that front page "new york times" article today that putin's hopes to get in good and maybe have their way with team trump have back fired in this way? >> yes, brian, i think putin has
given up on trump, given up on him in the sense of any hope that somehow russia was going to have easy going here. and that's not a bad thing. in dealing with the russians, it's good to show some steel. and that's what the congress has done. it doesn't always lead to bad things as you know. sometimes this is what you have to do to bring the russians into a realistic understanding of where you stand. i think it has removed illusions perhaps on both sides. trump's illusion that he could easily work out a better arrangement with russia and putin's illusion that somehow trump and his administration were going to be a cake walk for him. >> and a lightning round -- same question answers from bowing of you beginning with john, how reckless was it for the
president to tweet against china over the weekend? >> that's a bad thing to do. i think he seems to think you can outsource the north korea problem. and you can't. china has a role to play but only in concert with about six or seven other things we have to orchestrate. >> nayyera, same question. and certainly this comes back to the united states going to the u.n., a body trump has not empowered now looking to handle the north korea threat because of the saber rattling happened over twitter. the more he tweets against north korea the more erratic behavior we'll see from the dictator there. >> john, nayyera thank you for coming on. dpleks complex topics-on helped our discussion. up next after another break. former senator bob kerry here in the studio. our next guest we "the 11th hour" . they came out of nowhere, sir! how many of 'em? we don't know. dozens. all right! let's teach these freaks some manners! good luck out there, captain! thanks! but i don't need luck, i have skills... i don't have my keys. (on intercom) all hands. we are looking for the captain's keys again. they are on a silver carabiner.
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plus had less major bleeding. both made eliquis right for me. ask your doctor if switching to eliquis is right for you. welcome back to the 11th hour." it was another busy day in the life of the trump white house. on secretary kelly's first day as white house chief of staff and what happened to be anthony scaramucci's last day as communications director. the president also awarded his first medal of honor. here with us to discuss all of the events today and more, nebraska exactic senator for 12 years, former nebraska governor for four. bob kerry here with us. notably a recipient of the medal of honor for his combat actions in as a navy seal. also notely president of the new
school here in new york and a member of the 9/11 commission. senator, here is why i was thinking about you most recently. it came down to your vote in 1993 for the entire clinton financial ball of wax, the budget plan, tax policy, and i want to show you what's going to -- it's going to feel like you're looking at your high school picture. but i want to show you you from the senate floor in announcing how you were going to vote. >> president clinton is watching now as i suspect you are i tell you this. i could not and should not cast the vote that brings down your presidency. >> i am sure many people stopped by your office and you were spun
hard. what must it feel like having -- you had the -- the deciding vote. what must it feel like to be collins and murkowski inside the republican party right now. >> it's harder. it's much harder because of the social media. it's easier to you know to focus your ire through facebook and other sorts of devices like that. it gets pretty you go ugly on the receiving end of national tweets. you probably never have gotten anything like that. >> i'm in the clear all the time. it's a love fest. >> the important ning about the '93 vote is began in 1990. it began with george w. bush. george w. bush said i will support a tax increase if the democrats sport spending restraints. my biggest problem in '93, i think we went far enough. we finished it out in 97. it was unpopular. people loved getting rid in the deficit you can't get it done any other way. the brave moment was 1990 when president bush said i will
support a tax increase. and that -- all we did -- as i said three years later and seven years later was finally balance the budget by amending that legislation. >> that broke his read my lips vow. i'm already reading because time and space has become compacted in and every day is really a week. i'm already reading this is a lame duck president. do you agree with that? >> no i don't agree with it. you never know. i mean you could be -- it's hard to predict. i didn't predict he was going to win who who am i to predict whether he will win a second term. the troubling thing about the russia investigation is consistently appear constantly saying it's a witch hunt. it's not. it's not even close to the salem witch trials. there is clear and present evidence the russians tried to interfere with the elections. we had an investigation going on. and he made a decision that he didn't like that investigation. so he got rid of comey.
and now he has a special counsel. he has robert mueller. former united states marine. got tremendous integrity, tremendous capability. and at a minimum he is going to issue a report that's going to be unpleasant. and constantly saying that it's fake news. i mean you can disagree and say i don't like what brian williams said about me. i don't like what somebody said about me. but to describe the news as fake encouraging people to not believe anything. >> it's per initials. >> i want to show you the president from today on the topic of north korea. >> what can you do about north korea, sir? >> we'll handle north korea. we're going to be able to handle north korea. there will be -- it will be handled. we handle everything. thank you very much. >> north korea we learned is going to be handled. does that fill you with
confidence. >> no it's not a real estate deal. i mean north korea has close to a million troops north of the 38th parallel. they would swarm into sael in 24 hours. they would be massive casualties in south korea. it's a significant program of the recent launch of an inch that can reach at least the western coast of the united states of america and probably further. but to threaten in that way we're going to fix it this deal, no it doesn't -- it doesn't inspire confidence at all. particularly at the moment when you've got so many people at the state department missing in action. injury there is like 50 some senate confirmed positions three of them confirmed. i understand tillerson wants to reorient and change the state department. but they're proposing a 30% cut in their budget. when he says we're handling it we is -- we is normally a group of diplomats with significant experience on the kor own peninsula say you could do this do this here is a few scenarios. and at the moment i don't know who is on the playing field. >> a question. i went home last thursday and watched intentionally bbc and the french television network to see how they were covering mr.
scaramucci. how they were going to get around to some of the quotes that we can't repeat on a family network on a family broadcast. how do you think this all looks to the world when priebus is gone, and spicer is gone? and now a guy referred to as the mooch, who was the head of communications for a title we used to call at leader of the free world, is gone. >> it's a good thing he is gone. i mean i think the president should have fired him as soon as the story broke about the profanity and the language he was use attention, threats. i mean, you know i increased my -- did. >> you were in the navy. >> right but my problem is it's an abuse of power. i'm going to get you guys. i'm going to use my power to get you guys. and that's an abuse of power. on its face the president should have removed him. the good news is general kelly is there. and insisted that scaramucci be gone. it's a good thing. >> what -- i asked this question of somebody last week. what if it turns out the leading expert at the nsa on isis is transgender and someone walks in has to say to them depending on
whether the president's tweet becomes a policy, give us your id card, stand up from your computer time for you to go. >> well i mean three things. the justice department is saying you can discriminate in the workforce against people who are gay orr less bean or transgender that's not discrimination. we're not defending that as a violation of civil rights. the second one is the tweet on his own. and said incorrectly to be generous that he is his generals supported it. they didn't. the third one i served with sam brownback. but sam brown back is openly antihomosexual. you put him in charge of making him a ambassador for religious freedom or religious tolerance. it's the opposite. those three together had to send a signal to every guy, lease bean transgender that they are not welcome. >> shouldn't anyone willing to raise their hand and volunteer for service. >> oh sure.
yeah. i mean -- the answer is emphatically yes. i mean, wasn't that long ago back in 1990s women can't serve in combat combat now they are doing fine np can't have guys in the next thing you know they're doing fine. it's going to be disruptive. people won't be able -- they'll be uncomfortable. well okay they're a little uncomfortable. they right hand alsuit and follow the commanding officer and carry out the mission. same thing with trand gender. it's not expensive. not a problem. in fact it's a violation of what we try to be as a country. >> i've got 15 seconds left. last time you were on you told me you had written seven letters to donald trump on past your son had. i neglected to ask you have you heard back. >> i have not but they're long letters. >> okay. well i'm sure there is an an office for that somewhere thank you for agreeing to come back on the broadcast. >> thank you. >> another break for us. back with more right after this.
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another week, another white house staff shake up. this time last friday we were talking about reince priebus and his departure. he resigned before now. anthony scaramucci had a chance to fire him. the new chief of staff was signed in and scaramucci was the first to go under his leadership. with us to talk about it now, tim alberta, his latest piece entitled without priebus. and the atlantic's molly ball who wrote the final humiliation of reince priebus. molly's piece begins, quote, six years ago, a humble party hack from kenosha, wisconsin took on
the thankless job of turning around the republican party. as he exits the white house, battered, bruised and humiliated, reince priebus claims he did what he set out to do. what did he say and what did he say to argue against being humiliated? >> i was looking at the whole sweep of his career in national politics. i have been covering the rnc since 2011 and if you remember, the party was in the dumps. they were badly divided. they won a mid-term election but they were deep in debt and the donor and activist community was dissatisfied. he came in and said he was going to turn this thing around and the republicans could win without sacrificing their principles. he pointed to his home state where scott walker and paul ryan was doing just that. now i think you know, the case
he makes is that he was successful because the party did win. the number of republicans in the white house, the house, the senate and state legislature, state houses across the country is the highest it's been since 1928. you can look at what came after 1928 and say that didn't work out so well for the republican party but the case he makes is he did his job which was to win. and the question that a lot of his critics would ask is was it worth it? did he sacrifice too much in the name of that goal? >> along these same lines so many have noticed the president's language. he is not careless with words but the opposite. he says nothing by mistake and it's always interesting to see what sentences in his remarks he chooses to add to or double down on. when he talks about republicans it's so often in the third
person, them or they and it strikes me incorporating molly's work the departure of priebus along with your work that's one less link to the big giant orb he climbed on to for election. >> that's right. and i don't think it's coincidental at this point. the language you are talking about i don't think we consider any of this coincidental. it's very deliberate. donald trump is talking as though there is a republican party and the democratic party and there is him, a party unto himself. and by firing reince priebus he has severed his connection to the republican water. reince priebus has spent five years making sure the republican tent, as it were, was cohesive in a way it had not been.
it is not just critical that reince priebus has lost this chief of staff and lost this major connection and link to the republican party but he now seems to be embracing this idea of almost triangulating against the party themselves. and in a way, testing them, forcing them to choose between the president, who is of course a republican technically, and their own elected officials back home. >> there is a lot there to react to. let's talk about reince in the rear-view mirror. as he looks back with the kelly
era beginning. if kelly asked him advice what do you think that would be? again, kelly, nonpartisan, kelly is the organization man. he is not running to make a successful republican president. he is in this job to make a successful president. >> yes, well, you know, i think one thing that reince learned was that the loyalty with donald trump is a one-way street and the relationship with trump once he views you as someone who is not 100% loyal you never fully recover from that. they had a rocky relationship during the campaign. there were several points at which reince behind the scenes tried to rein in trump and said you may need to think about dropping out of the race after the "access hollywood" tape and reince was never actually in practice the chief of staff. he did not have executive authority. people didn't believe he spoke for the president when he made decisions or he had executive authority within the white house.
kelly is coming in with a very different reputation and mandate. he has received assurances from the president. the departure of scaramucci is a direct result of the deal kelly extracted from president trump. if i'm going to do this, the staff has to report to the chief of staff. i have to be able to do the things i see fit to organize this place. reince was not in that position ever. he didn't have the power he needed to organize the white house even if he was capable of doing it. >> and tim, do they realize they need ryan and mcconnell, they can only run as an independent entity so much. >> you have to wonder, brian. i'm not entirely sure. if you look at the president's inner circle at this point, mike pence is really the only adviser to the president, the only person whom the president regularly consults his opinion who has any serious association with the republican party.
and that's not an exaggeration at all. kellyanne conway has the president's ear in some cases but according to people in the white house, she is not regularly consulted for major decisions. i don't know if you look at the west wing and his son-in-law, his daughter, steve bannon, anthony scaramucci has now departed. when you look at the people who surround the president on a daily basis, and now john kelly you have to wonder who will be prodding him closer to the republican party and make sure he works in concert with congressional leadership. >> great conversation tonight. we'll keep doing it and our thanks for being on our broadcast so late in the evening. one last item before we go tonight. president trump awarded his first medal of honor as president today to army medic james mcclune and the ceremony was almost 50 years in the making.
he was a medic in vietnam and is credited with saving the lives of ten members of his company before collapsing, himself. despite his own wounds he refused a flight out and he stayed. he refused a direct order to stay back and ventured out in the open kill zone four separate times. he spent a year in vietnam and came home and became a high school teacher. he has been retired for a decade and now this. for some context we had a medal of honor recipient in this room a few minutes ago. senator bob kerry and we had one on friday night. those are two men out of only 72 men alive who have received their nation's highest military honor.
now that list includes james mccloughan. they deserve the respect and thanks of a grateful nation. that is our broadcast tonight. thank you for being with us here tonight. good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. in 1924 the democratic party needed to pick a presidential nominee to run against calvin coolidge. they knew it was going to be hard. coolidge was fairly popular. he had become president when warren harding keeled over and died in office. as president coolidge was pretty widely liked, he was overseeing a pretty good economy, running basically as an incumbent to try to hold on to the seat. and the democrats knew that coolidge was going t h